(another story snippet)
On the balcony Luda dreams, feeling the morning air on her face. British women, she has heard, have beautiful skin, because of the moisture in the air. She thinks about this and lets the dew seep into her pores. Brown and white pigeons ruffle their feathers in a coop in the corner, coo-cooing at her and each other. She holds a butcher’s knife, idly twirling the point on her calloused finger. Which one will be for dinner?
Suddenly, a great white bird alights on the ledge, bristling, head cocking curiously. Luda stares at it. The cockatoo reciprocates. She fears it will speak, it will reproach her.
“Come in, come in, sweet bird,” she says, opening the door to the apartment. She’d love it as a pet. Would like to teach it to speak and sing. Pissou the cat looks out from under the kitchen table, two green eyes in the shadows, his black tail switching stiffly back and forth. The cockatoo has other plans: no apartment block for him. He leaves as abruptly as he came.
Luda shrugs. She puts the knife down on the ledge and opens the pigeon coop, selecting the plumpest of the bunch. She holds its body in one hand and delicately, lovingly, uses the other to break its neck.